Back before we moved into the firehouse, we had begun experimenting with folks other than ourselves growing in our indoor aquaponic farm. This idea arose from a desire on the part of various growing, cooking, and nutrition workshop attendees. People were leaving our programming excited to take the next step! They wanted to grow food in a more hands-on manner but often lacked the resources needed to set up an indoor growing system themselves.
With Plant Chicago's move to a new building in 2019, came new opportunities. We saw the North Garage addition as a perfect opportunity to build a farm from the ground up as a shared-use space.
Before going forward with any sort of complex and expensive endeavor such as this, it's usually best to test the project on a smaller scale first. A pilot project with just a handful of users helped us learn how to best support multiple types of growing operations such as personal vs commercial. This pilot program was also a chance to discover unforeseen issues or pitfalls and address them effectively before scaling up the project. The report below is our summary of what the first year of the IVG at pilot-scale was like, including some of those unforeseen challenges and how we intend to address them.
If you are interested in getting involved with the IVG please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org